with a three-goal third period on home soil, the Chiefs battled back to win the RBC Cup over the Wellington Dukes in their home barn Sunday afternoon.
It was the second-straight year and the third in four seasons that the host team came out on top. Much like last season’s Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires, Chilliwack lost in the opening round of its 2018 postseason, handing the Chiefs a window of nearly two months between their final game of the season and their first game of the RBC Cup.
Making a strange situation that much stranger, just over one week before the RBC Cup, Chilliwack announced that it had fired its Head Coach Jason Tatarnic, leaving season-long assistant Brian Maloney as the team’s bench boss.
After entering the third period down 2-1 in the RBC Cup final Sunday, the Chiefs scored three goals in the final frame, pulling away with a 4-2 victory in front of thousands of hometown fans.
Although starting the tournament with an overtime loss to Wenatchee, Chilliwack bounced back nicely with back-to-back-to-back victories – including a 4-1 thrashing of Manitoba’s Steinbach Pistons.
The Chiefs then beat the Ottawa Junior Senators 3-2 in Saturday’s semifinal, before punching their ticket to the final in their all-too familiar home, the Prospera Centre.
Daniel Chenard stopped 28 pucks for Chilliwack, while Jonah Capriotti made 35 saves for Wellington.
The Steinbach Pistons were eliminated from RBC Cup contention on Thursday after going 0-2-2 in four very close matchups. Finishing fifth of 132 Canadian Junior A teams is certainly something to be extremely proud of. The Pistons will look to pick things back up in early September in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
By Carter Brooks
Photo by Dave Holland